POPULAR by Mitch Prinstein examines why popularity plays such a key role in our development and, ultimately, how it still influences our happiness and success today. In many ways—some even beyond our conscious awareness—those old dynamics of our youth continue to play out in every business meeting, every social gathering, in our personal relationships, and even how we raise our children. Our popularity even affects our DNA, our health, and our mortality in fascinating ways we never previously realized. More than childhood intelligence, family background, or prior psychological issues, research indicates that it’s how popular we were in our early years that predicts how successful and how happy we grow up to be. But it’s not always the conventionally popular people who fare the best, for the simple reason that there is more than one type of popularity—and many of us still long for the wrong one. As children, we strive to be likable, which can offer real benefits not only on the playground but throughout our lives. In adolescence, though, a new form of popularity emerges, and we suddenly begin to care about status, power, influence, and notoriety—research indicates that this type of popularity hurts us more than we realize. Realistically, we can’t ignore our natural human social impulses to be included and well-regarded by others, but we can learn how to manage those impulses in beneficial and gratifying ways. Popular relies on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience to help us make the wisest choices for ourselves and for our children, so we may all pursue more meaningful, satisfying, and rewarding relationships. Review: A must hear for anyone still trying to get over rejection at an early age by peers or parents. The author narrates in a friendly, believable style that doesn’t preach or sound like a lecture. He shows why money doesn’t equal happiness, and how our culture’s obsession with status harms everyone. Depression, and endless cycles of blame, result from bullying to protect one’s dominance in whatever group, from gangsters to cheerleaders. Prinstein defines how this proactive aggression plays out on social media, too. Yet only those whose goal is to acquire positive, life-affirming qualities achieve lifelong success. The difference is between judging and accepting (which means speaking out for those who are voiceless.) With high school perceptions affecting one’s life forever, including how one interprets future insults, it’s vital to understand the entire dynamic to avoid falling into the trap of chasing likes and fake friends as a substitute for happiness. Subtitle: THE POWER OF LIKABILITY IN A STATUS OBSESSED WORLD.